Being a trip leader is a real skill, and it can be hard work. Here are some tips to help you make your trip a success:
- Gear check - Confirm each party member has appropriate emergency gear including first aid, warm and water-proof clothes, emergency food and water.
- Brief party - Brief your group at the start of the day– let them know the ETA and distance to camp, describe the terrain including significant geographic features, and agree on frequency of breaks and a possible lunch location and time.
- Group roles - Nominate a confident party-member to bring up the rear. They will tell you if the pace is too fast, or when slower walkers need a break. Nominate a strong walker to lead the way – route-finding and pace-setting will be important. You may choose to take one of these roles.
- Route finding – At each rest break make sure the group knows where you are on the map. Agree to stop at track junctions to re-group and collect stragglers. Keep the group together if conditions deteriorate (eg fog, rain, sleet).
- Pace setting – Be aware of your group’s fitness levels, experience and the trip grading when setting the pace.
- Mood setting – As leader you will often set the tone of the trip. Your enjoyment and enthusiasm will be infectious and help keep spirits high.
- Using huts – Remind your party about hut tickets / annual hut passes, and respect other groups using the huts.